The agreement took place at the UK-China Business Summit, attended by the Gordon Brown and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.
Signatories included Professor Zheng Shiling of Tongji University, Malcolm Grant, Provost of University College London and Thames Gateway Institute for Sustainability chairman and Arup global research director Jeremy Watson.
"This partnership is a significant step in meeting the sustainability challenges faced by every nation," said Watson.
"The creation of new and lasting links between Chinese and British research institutes, government agencies and business, should result in policies and best practice to lead development and future design in China, the UK and worldwide."
To date, an international Eco-City Research Network has been initiated by Arup and facilitated by support from the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (STCSM).
The announcement follows Arup director Peter Head's recent Brunel lecture on sustainability in which he drew on his work on Dongtan and other major eco-city projects in China.